Hundreds Hurt As Romanian Police Scuffle With Anticorruption Protesters

Romania RIOTS: Chaos on streets of Bucharest as police use TEAR GAS and WATER CANNON

Romania RIOTS: Chaos on streets of Bucharest as police use TEAR GAS and WATER CANNON

"The interior ministry must explain urgently the way it handled tonight's events".

Hundreds of the protesters tried to break through the police cordon and officers in riot gear responded with tear gas and pepper spray, forcing the demonstrators back.

Dozens of Romanian protesters were wounded after security forces used tear gas and water cannons to disperse anti-corruption demonstrators in Bucharest on Friday night when tens of thousands of people rallied against the ruling Social Democrat Party asking for the resignation of the government.

With Kovesi at the helm, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (DNA) had led a crackdown on corruption among local and national elected officials in recent years, earning accusations of abuse of power and the enmity of many in Romania's political class.

The antigovernment protest in Bucharest on August 10 drew tens of thousands Romanians from overseas and local residents who demanded the government resign over moves to change laws that critics say would make it harder to prosecute corruption.

Local media estimated between 30,000 and 50,000 gathered in the capital Bucharest but protests were also organised as cities across the country.

The expatriates, some of whom drove across Europe to attend the demonstration, are angry about how Romania is being governed by the Social Democrats.

The crowd chanted "resign" and "thieves" as they assembled in a central square outside the main government building. Others threw bottles and stones at police.

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Video footage on social media showed police beating non-violent protesters who had been putting their hands up.

The Bucharest-Ilfov Ambulance service said more than 200 people received medical treatment, both protesters and police officers.

An estimated 3 to 5 million Romanians are working and living overseas, the World Bank has said, or about a quarter of the European Union state's overall population. A campaign calling for the protest was launched on Facebook.

Romania's expatriates returned to Bucharest to join thousands of their compatriots protesting about corruption and alleged attempts to weaken the country's judiciary.

The PSD pushed changes to the criminal codes through parliament that have raised concerns from the European Commission, the U.S. State Department and thousands of magistrates.

Iohannis in July signed a decree to remove the popular chief anticorruption prosecutor from her post. The changes are pending Constitutional Court challenges.

Romania ranks as one of the EU's most corrupt states and Brussels keeps its justice system under special monitoring.

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